Freedom Fighter

When I hear the word I think of the cowardly lion. The amazing thing about the cowardly lion is that the audience is a witness to his courage before he realizes it. How similar we are to that, aren’t we? While we struggle, others are admiring us before we get around to it.

Courage.

Courage is getting up everyday and loving others whom may never love you in return. You try your best to hug away pain and trauma. You carry peace for the outbursts. Each day holds a similar routine. Each night you cry because you see a glimpse into the horror that sneaks out in your kids reactions. Deep down, you know that if you choose to give in to the darkness or give up, your child will add you to the list of people who did not know how to endure for their sake, for love.

Foster parent. Adoptive parent. Stepparent. Grandma. Grandpa. Aunt. Uncle.

Parent.

Whoever you are, courage is the word that defines you.

We are a witness to your courage even if you are unable to see it in yourself.

Every morning you wake up to love through another day full of trauma unknown, in an attempt to bring freedom. To love someone so deeply that your heart bursts with love despite the ache that seems to grow with each tear that drops from your precious child. At night you exhale, your soul full of exhaustion after the freedom work you just accomplished.

It may not feel like anything has changed but I assure you that your love in one day has done far more than any evil upon your child ever could. That is why you must rise in the morning to do it all over again. You are a freedom fighter.

Courage defines you.

Take courage.

Be still.

The Lord fights for you.

Dog Lessons

This dog sure has given me a lot to keep up with this week! He was digging himself into a hill of mud while barking at the neighbor dog that he could not get to (instant bath even if I had no time for it). Then it was head in a trash can one day, stealing bread out of a bag the next and yesterday it was squeezing himself into the area with cat food and gorging himself.

Yet, he comes back after having done all that and looks at me like this:

Did you know that no matter what, you can come to God like this and ask for help? Too often we rob ourselves of the mercy and forgiveness that is ours when we choose not to go to God anymore. Put pride, stubbornness, guilt… Whatever it may be aside and come back to God. He won’t push you away. He loves you and only has the best in mind for you.

Do not be like my dog though. He will go right back out onto that mud Hill (I had to go get him off a couple times after that muddy incident) and get messy all over again. He will keep trying to get to the trash, head covered in wrappers. He needs to change and those changes come slow because I cannot always be there to guide, offer discipline and teach him new ways.

But God is always there. Yes, there are consequences to our actions but he is not there with a lightning bolt. He is ready to meet us when we are willing to change. He offers mercy and grace despite our lack of understanding or our lack of desire to follow him. He fondly looks upon us when we look up and ask for his forgiveness, his help.

Be Unafraid

When life looks uncertain God is taking care of you. You do not need to be afraid. He has coordinated your victory before you get there.

Raise your head. Set your shoulders straight because of hardships. The enemy views you as a threat. Your worth is immeasurable.

Love is unafraid.

Take more ground rather than retreating back. You are a force to be reckoned with because of God within you. He makes your path straight. You are surrounded by him.

Dear Reader, God has got you.

Be unafraid.

What My Dog Taught Me

This is a picture of my dog while I am gone. To some it may look like a dog who is in deep sleep. What this is, is a dog incredibly sad that I am gone. He almost looks a bit defeated.

I have been thinking about my sweet dog and this picture the rest of this week. He has separation anxiety because he believes the lie that when I leave, I will not come back. He lets that lie defeat him. I am also told that while I am gone he is mopey and sad. When I return he is renewed and exudes a joy that he is unable to contain.

We are not much different (forgive me for comparing us to a dog but the reminders from him are good to note).

This is what our souls look like when we don’t make time to be with the Lord. We get depleted. Ever so slowly we are exhausted by life circumstances and our souls become heavy laden. We want to give up. Sometimes we give in to the surrounding darkness. This is what happens when we believe lies about ourselves and about our circumstances.

If we could only remember the truths about our King. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has won our victory. He is always present. He loves us with an everlasting love. He waits for us to let him into our lives. Our growth and our joy is our choice because he will never force his way on anyone.

I encourage you to spend more time in prayer. Read more of the Bible. Get to know who God is. In his presence lies are destroyed, faith grows and hope rises.

There is no better way to live.

“God, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for giving me strength to love through the storms. Thank you for helping me remain steadfast no matter how much my heart may break. Thank you for the gift of joy. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I cannot and will not live life without you. I choose you. Thank you for choosing me first.”

Get Out Of The Way

In our instant gratification type world, the process within our lives can often be a struggle. We doubt our faith. We doubt our actions when results do not occur quickly or within the time frame we might expect. Why are we so quick to doubt or even begin to complain about the process? Are we just whiners? The world does not revolve around us.

I feel that most often we desire results without much work or sacrifice. We think that we must feel a certain way all of the time or that certain things must be in order, otherwise God is not good. Are you kidding me? Have you looked at the life of Jesus? He was outcasted, slandered, ignored, considered crazy, betrayed, lied about, and murdered for other people’s wrongdoing. Do you think that Jesus thought that through all of that, that his Father was not good? Absolutely not!

God is good and he wants to give us good things when we ask him. What we get caught up with is the fact that we often think that we know what is better for us than God does. Too often we want someone else to be blamed for our sin, our apathy and our selfish desires. All of this decreases joy because we are the ones choosing the opposite of it.

My prayer is that it would become normal to ask God to have his mind and desire what he wants, rather than getting caught up in selfishness or pride, thinking that we know best. It can be so easy to cast blame if that is what is normal. In our culture it is normal and has come to be accepted in several large circles. Those in leadership are applauded when they do so.

But do not applaud so quickly. Ones own pride comes at a price. Sin comes with a price. It is too heavy for one to measure.

Let us return once again to repentance. Let us return to asking, seeking and knocking without complaining after “too much time” has passed and you have been outside the door waiting.

God is good. He has the best waiting for you if you get out of the way.

Will You Listen?

I have a story to tell but I am sworn to silence.

I want to tell you of heaven and hell and how I’ve experienced both.

I have a story to tell. I am told to lie and that I am to blame.

I experience heartbreak after heartbreak as my voice gets thrown under the rug. Other people tell me that my life is fine. I come and go believing that others can take from me however they desire. I have been ground down to nothing. Is it no wonder I don’t know who I am? Is it no wonder that I just stare blankly instead of scream when sex and nudity is the norm? After all, I am told I get to choose who I am so this is just helping me decide. Words that cut like knives and clothes that cover bruises is what I am told is okay. Sexual education is taught in the bedroom, in the living room and on my phone. This is okay because I get to choose my sex and this is called parenting.

When I come up to the light no one comes to save me.

Who will be my voice and speak up for me? Who will show me I am worth it?

I have a story to tell, now set me free so that I can speak it or shout it if I want to.

I am tired of these chains holding me down. Set me free and I will run to safety.

I have a story to tell. I will only utter the words of darkness so you will know that Heaven gave me my freedom instead of the world.

I have a story to tell.

Will you listen?

Who I Want To Be

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Being an introvert has probably been one of the things I have struggled the most with. Growing up I didn’t know how to communicate that I needed space. If I was overwhelmed by people I didn’t know how to communicate my feelings or my needs.

As an adult I realized very quickly that I had come to be borderline hateful of this part of me. I was told quite a bit as an adult that there were no introverts in heaven. This inadvertently led me to believe that there was something very wrong with me. I could never figure out what hidden sin was causing this for me to continually struggle with needing space and time behind the scenes.

One day I realized that God had designed me to give him glory while alone so he could be seen better in the crowd. The part of me that was needing space led to great reflections, writing and creative arts. I see and feel things in a different way and solutions come when I am recharging alone. To hate this part of me or communicate to someone that they are “wrong” is to deny a part of God. God had written introversion in my DNA not to remain by myself but for the benefit of myself and others.

When I realized that it was imperative for me to be alone to be the best me with others, I began to accept who God made me to be. He loved this part of me! Slowly I was able to let go of who I thought I should be and embrace who I was in alignment with Holy Spirit. Without God I would be like a broken compass always questioning myself.

Today I still remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Most of the time I don’t feel guilty for needing space. I often have to say no in order to get rest and proper self-care in. I will start my day alone or quietly leave a room to breathe. When I do this, my mind is alert and my soul refreshed. My creative side is able to flow freely and I feel the most alive when this happens.

A beautiful thing occurs when you can accept the “flaws” people have pointed out about your personality. Freedom to be yourself leads to confidence. Accepting how God made you (your heavenly design not your sinful one) and getting to know yourself rather than how others tell you, is important to live a victorious life. Obviously if there is known sin, repent and change. But if it has to do with your heavenly design stop trying to be someone that you are not. Be who God designed you to be. Place him back on the throne instead of others.

Extrovert or introvert, you are wonderfully made!